Home South African A-G tightens rules to stop fraud and theft in government

A-G tightens rules to stop fraud and theft in government

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Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke has issued a directive for all government departments and state entities audited by her office to recover public funds lost from the official responsible for the losses incurred.

Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

AUDITOR-GENERAL Tsakani Maluleke has issued a directive for all government departments and state entities audited by her office to recover public funds lost from the official responsible for the losses incurred.

The directive was issued on Monday and will enable Maluleke to take remedial action if her reports and findings are not implemented and to facilitate optimal levels of accountability and transparency in the management of public resources.

According to the directive, the auditor-general must, within a reasonable time after the issuing of an audit report, follow up on whether the accounting officer or authority has implemented the recommendations contained in the audit report, relating to any material irregularity within the time frame stipulated in the audit report.

“If the accounting officer or authority has failed to implement the recommendations contained in the audit report, the auditor-general must take appropriate remedial action to address the failure to implement the recommendations,” reads the directive.

In cases where a material irregularity resulted in a financial loss to the state, and the accounting officer or authority failed to implement the recommendations contained in the audit report, the remedial action taken by the auditor-general, including a directive to the accounting officer or authority to determine the amount of the loss, if not yet determined and to recover such loss as required in terms of any applicable legislation, from the responsible person.

Material irregularity is defined as any non-compliance with or contravention of, legislation, fraud, theft or a breach of a fiduciary duty identified during an audit performed under the Public Audit Act, that resulted in or is likely to result in a material financial loss, the misuse or loss of a material public resource or substantial harm to a public sector institution or the general public.

Maluleke will also be empowered to refer any suspected material irregularity identified during an audit performed under the act to a relevant public body for further investigation and the relevant public body must keep her informed of the progress, and the final outcome of the investigation.

She has the power to take any appropriate remedial action and issue a certificate of debt, where an accounting officer or authority has failed to comply with remedial action.

The directive is effective for financial periods beginning on or after April 1, 2021 and is applicable until further notice.

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